When one bride-to-be learned the heartbreaking news that her father, who was battling cancer, would be moving to hospice care, she called off her engagement photo shoot with her fiancé and took pictures in the backyard of her childhood home with her dad instead.
The Virginia woman looked lovely in her wedding gown, her veteran father handsome in his U.S. Air Force dress blues, in a series of portraits that would later prove to be all the more powerful as the father of the bride would not live to see his daughter’s wedding day.
The story began in September 2018, when Becky Carey and her future groom, Matt, contacted their engagement session photographer Bonnie Turner, Southern Living reports, requesting to reschedule their appointment. Carey apologized for having to shuffle the plans around, and shared tragic news.
“My dad [Tim] has been fighting prostate cancer and his body is now at the point where it can’t handle more treatment. We found out yesterday that he starts hospice this week,” the woman wrote, asking if Turner could use the deposit for the engagement photos for a “family photo session” instead.
“Matt and I will worry about our photos later, because this is more pressing with time,” Carey continued. “Of course this is a very difficult and dark time, but I know how you feel about love and capturing it so beautifully and meaningfully.”
Turner obliged, and soon traveled to the family home on the same day that the bride’s videographer friend was taking “first dance” footage of the dad and daughter — in the event that her dad would not be there for her special day, as per Brides.
The photographer captured a series of gorgeous images, featuring Becky and Tim dancing, smiling, twirling and laughing in the great outdoors, their tight-knit bond radiant in every image.
Though the photos and happy memories of the sentimental moment will surely last a lifetime, Tim sadly passed away on March 28 — before his daughter’s upcoming wedding day.
“My heart is heavy today as I have been informed of his passing. He fought so hard for a very long time,” Turner wrote on Facebook of his passing, sharing the images online.
“These photos are near and dear to this family and most of all, special to [Becky.] Photographs and memories are EVERYTHING when they are all you have left,” she said of the shoot.
In the weeks since, the powerful tale of the dad and daughter has gone massively viral from Turner’s post, with over 81,000 likes, 33,000 shares, and not a dry eye in the 5,000 comments.
“I’m sobbing. Photographs are everything,” one fan wrote. “These are so beautiful.”
“Memories and photographs are most definitely everything! Truly amazing! Prayers for this special family,” another agreed.
“I absolutely love this! As someone who didn’t get to dance with her dad at her wedding I can’t even begin to tell you what a treasure these pictures will be to her now and in the future,” another offered.
Turner, too, has since established a memorial fund for the Carey family via GoFundMe.